Monday, March 30, 2020

Is the Netherlands refusing to treat elderly Covid-19 patients.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Salvador Aragonés published by claims that the Netherlands is rationing healthcare by denying treatment to patients based on age. Aragonés also claims that the Netherlands is blaming the financial crisis in Italy and Spain as caused by their medical treatment policy. Aragonés writes (google translated);
A great scandal is caused in Europe, and not only in Europe, with the systematic attitude of the Netherlands in treating coronavirus patients in their territory by age, even before their hospitals are full. 
According to statements by Dr. Frits Rosendaal, head of clinical epidemiology at the Leiden University Medical Center, and a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and Art, with many awards and recognized merits. This well known doctor in the Netherlands is now battling the coronavirus, comments on how hospital admissions for the Covid-19 virus are followed in the Netherlands, while criticizing the way of life of Italy and Spain. 
The doctor (Rosendaal) said: “In Italy, the ICU capacity is managed very differently [from the Dutch]. They admit patients that we would not include because they are too old. The elderly have a very different position in Italian culture." He (Rosendaal) does not understand how in these southern European countries they admit “old people to the ICU”. The Netherlands does not hospitalize the weak and the elderly in order to make room for young people. He attributes it to a “cultural difference” between the Netherlands and the Latin countries.
Aragonés links the Dutch policy of not treating elderly Covid-19 patients with euthanasia. He states (google translated): the Netherlands as in Belgium, euthanasia has been applied for years, according to the authorities, “voluntary”. However, in Germany, and in France, Spain and Italy, they have received elderly patients from these countries to be cured, not of coronaviruses, but of anything, because they do not trust the hospitals of their country: euthanasia is not Voluntary, they say, nor is it respected - not infrequently - the will of the person to whom euthanasia is applied.
Aragonés then states that Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra is urging the European parliament to investigate "wasted finances" in Portugal and Spain related to Covid-19.

Treatment and care related to the Covid-19 has clearly affected relations between European nations.

On March 28, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a bulletin upholding the equality and human rights of people with disabilities and the elderly concerning treatment decisions and healthcare allocation.


marwen said...

Eventually God will take care of all the people, who have contributed to the deaths of older people and others, who are not getting treatment they need and deserve. They are the ones, who have made it possible for the younger ones to have a life!

elizsend said...

It is important to recognize that denying anyone intensive care treatment is very different than euthanasia. Many people besides the elderly are denied intensive care treatment based on economics. Many countries such as India and Africa simply cannot afford that level of treatment for most of their people.
Euthanasia is the active and deliberate ending of someone's life. As truth bearers we need to make this distinction very clear.
We oppose euthanasia.
The realities of limited healthcare treatments and who will have those limited treatments is another debate altogether.

Alex Schadenberg said...

I am well aware that denying treatment is very different than euthanasia. Nonetheless the writer of the article accuses the Netherlands of being influenced by the euthanasia mentality.

Theo Boer said...

As I see it, euthanasia and the oftentimes far reaching attempts to postpone a natural death are both sides of the same coin: the will to master our lives and to substitute a natural death for an orchestrated death. The world knows me as a Dutch euthanasia critic. But I think the default decision to bring in elderly people, most of whom have comorbidity, to the ICU is almost as questionable as many people's default preference for euthanasia once they no longer wish to live. In both instances, I would say: let us respect if a natural death comes by. However, this should be the patient's wish, not the physician's dictate. Luckily, the general view in the Netherlands with regard to ICU-admissions is: the wishes of the elderly should be respected. If they prefer admission to the ICU, let us respect that; but many elderly, I think quite rightly so, decide to opt for a conservative treatment with palliative care if they do not recover.

Kathleen1031 said...

I just read an article in Fox News today by an American doctor who in his recommendations for dealing with the virus says that "over 60's" should stay home because you might get sick and "resources are scarce". To me that sounds like, "don't get the virus because we don't want to waste precious resources on you when younger and better people may need them".
The euthanasia attitude slips in very easily, until eventually you do as some Native American tribes did when they just left their elderly out in the cold or heat to be exposed and die. I think the Eskimoes put them on an ice chunk and let them float away. At least they didn't have to see what happened, that would be unpleasant for them, to watch Grandma slip into the water. Better for you if you don't see it.
If life is not sacred, all of it, then none is. If you can kill babies, even those about to be born, then hell yes you can deny old people a ventilator and leave them gasping, and justify it completely. But to do this can be evil.
There is a line, of "extraordinary care", and you don't have to implement it, such as ventilators. But unless you are guided by sound theology such as by traditional Catholic theology, you can easily go wrong, and pretty soon, there goes Grandma on an ice chunk.

Kathleen1031 said...

Yes Theo, palliative care is the thing, otherwise known as "comfort measures". You give oxygen but not by intubating, sedation at varying levels, etc, but NOT to cause the patient to die by morphine. Food and water are not extraordinary interventions, they are required, unless the patient does not want them. Not every elderly person wants intubation, and there was just a story of a 95 year old lady who refused them and healed anyway. Sometimes it may be better to forgo it. Intubation can cause problems as well.

Alex Schadenberg said...

No one should be forced to accept treatment, but the accusation by the author of the article is significant and the other countries are angry because they feel that the Dutch government is judging them for the medical decisions.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I read the Spanish article to which you link on Aletheia and then I checked the comments Dutch finance minister Hoekstra made according to this article. Dutch is my native language. As far as I can see, there was not even a remote hint at euthanasia in what Hoekstra said, nor was it anywhere understood that way. The comment caused indignation, but rather because Hoekstra (like one of his predecessors as Dutch finance minister) suggested that the southern European countries simply don't keep their finances in order. I think it is important to say that, because as far as I can see, the Spanish article gives a wrong impression.


The end of a life is a very sacred matter if one believes God . One is now privileged to help in preparing a life spent on earth to reach its end in a matter befitting a godly creation. We come into the world needing help and we leave it needing help. The most wonderful subjects of God's creation, ourselves depend on their fellow creatures to continue God's plan. God'S HANDIWORK ie we the created are in the hands of a handful of people who at birth and death who must answer our creator how they helped him to give us life and bring us back to him in death. They are going to have to account to the boss Who will demand from them an explanation. Let every medic be made aware of the origin of life and he will properly decide how to treat it.

Alex Schadenberg said...

I am only quoting the author of the article.